HTC announces Vive Pro with better specs for enterprise

CES 2018: HTC is targeting the enterprise with an update to its Vive VR headset with beefier specs.

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Sean Hollister / CNET

HTC announced at CES 2018 an update to its Vive virtual reality headset that is targeted at enterprise customers and called Vive Pro. Compared to the original Vive, the Pro model adds sharper resolution with 2880x1600 dual-OLED displays, built-in headphones, a redesigned headstrap, and dual front-facing cameras.

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HTC said Vive Pro will be available to existing customers in Q1 2018, and a developer version will be available after. The new displays on the Vive Pro will be a 78 percent increase in resolution over the original Vive, HTC explained at press conference on Monday. Pricing info wasn't shared.

Vive Pro customers won't have to purchase an audio kit like with the original Vive, and HTC also included dual microphones to the headset for noise cancellation. The Pro's updated headstrap includes a sizing dial for a more balanced fit on the head.

"There's a clear need in the VR market for a premium VR experience with high resolution display, integrated audio and the best components available today in a headset," said Daniel O'Brien, GM of HTC Vive, said in a statement. "Vive Pro offers an immediate upgrade for both VR enthusiasts and enterprises that want to utilize the best VR experience."

At its event, HTC also introduced the Vive Wireless Adaptor that wirelessly connects the Vive or Vive Pro to a nearby PC. Using Intel's WiGig technology, the Wireless Adaptor will be available in the summer of 2018.

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Wireless capability could previously be achieved with third-party accessories, but HTC wants you to use Intel's tech for a more seamless experience. "Wireless VR has been on nearly every VR user's wish list since the technology was unveiled," Frank Soqui, GM of the virtual reality group at Intel, said in a statement.

Vive Wireless Pro Adaptor will be available in Q3 2018.

HTC's update to its VR platform comes at an important time for the VR landscape. Consumer Technology Association forecasted Monday the VR market will see record growth in 2018 with AR/VR headsets and eyewear selling 4.9 million units in the US in 2018 (a more than 25 percent increase from 2017). CTA also sees US revenues of $1.2 billion (roughly 10 percent year-over-year growth).

Past hardware, HTC introduced an update to its Viveport VR and Vive Video platform where users can discover, experience, and buy VR content. The catalog was previously presented to users in 2D, but it will now be immersive and interactive with "VR previews" that provide a room-scale preview of an experience and the opportunity to interact with content before purchasing or subscribing.

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